The Hazeltons offer a fascinating mix of diverse cultures and unique communities. The name, “the Hazeltons”, refers to several communities named after the hazel bushes that grow on the terraces along the river.
Three major geographical landmarks stand out in the Hazeltons. One is the impressive Hagwilget Peak, part of the Roche de Boule mountain range and the star of many photos. This sharp granite triangle peak sits at 2,100 metres in the sky.
The second major landmark is Seven Sisters Park and Protected Area, named for its seven sharp peaks. The park also has 47 km of trails, including the Cedarvale trail that takes about half a day and may give you a glimpse mountain goats along the way. In the winter, Hell’s Bells and Oliver Creek trails are fun for snowmobiling.
The third outstanding landmark is the more than 6,000-foot-deep Hagwilget Canyon. Walk carefully onto the single-lane steel suspension bridge above it and look down to take in the scale of this natural feature.
To fully experience the Hazeltons, turn off Highway 16 to drive through Gitanmaax, Two Mile and Old Hazelton. In addition to passing over the Hagwilget Canyon, the route offers an interesting mix of neighbouring Indigenous and non-indigenous communities and buildings.
“Old Hazeltons”, also called the Village of Hazelton, is a small riverside village that dates to 1866. The village sits at the confluence of the Bulkley and Skeena Rivers, and features colourfully restored historical buildings and artifacts throughout its streets. Grab a drink from the local coffee shop and walk along the river. Use the Hazeltons Community Guide and flip through the Walking Guide to learn about the historic sites and buildings, including the S.S. Hazelton, the Sternwheeler that once cruised the local waters.
Another must see in this area, at the entrance to Old Hazeltons, is the ‘Ksan Historical Village. The ‘Ksan Village is an experiential museum with traditional longhouses and totem poles that teaches the history and culture of the Gitxsan people, some of the original inhabitants of this area. The ‘Ksan Campground next door fits trailers and RVs.
With three major rivers in the area – the Bulkley, Kispiox and Skeena – the Hazeltons is well-known for water sports and fishing. Bring your own gear – rods, paddle boards, kayaks, or canoes. Or contact a local guide to go on a fishing or river rafting adventure.